Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Banana Cream Pie In Rowe, New Mexico in the middle 1950's

My cousin and I were on our way to the river about a mile away from town to fish, or swim, or both when we heard someone behind us..... We went into the forest and hid while they went by. The property was private, belonging to the actress Greer Garson and her millionaire husband "Buddy" Fogelson.  It was part of the old Los Trigos Land Grant which was lately owned by Jane Fonda. Anyway, we did not want to get caught fishing or swimming there but the odds of that happening were slim to none as we were experts at hiding in the adjacent woods.

Anyway, it was an "anglo" couple with some small kids who were behind us. I do not know if they were sneaking in too or if they had permission to be or go there. It did not matter, we let them pass and then followed them out of curiosity. Just to see what they were up to. They got to an area and "set up" the spot. Picnic basket and a tablecloth to cover the ground before they all went down about 100 yards to the river.

Opportunity was knocking and we decided my cousin would be the lookout while I went down to see what they had set out. Just looking really, at least I recall that was what I was thinking at the time. Anyway, I opened the basket and lo and behold a funny looking pie was there. Never seen a pie with all white on the top before. I dipped my finger to taste it and the taste was out of this world. I took the pie and some plastic spoons and high tailed it to where my cousin was waiting.

My first taste of banana cream pie.... God sent it to us, I just knew it. My forced church attendance was paying off right then. It was the best thing, outside of panocha for la semana santa, that I had ever tasted. We took off to the ole swimming hole to swim without waiting to see what the white folks did when they found the pie missing. I still don't know if they figured it out or if the ole man blamed the woman for forgetting the pie.

We did not know what type of pie it was, just that it was good. The next time I tasted banana cream pie again was in Nebraska one summer while traveling through many years later. Now when I have a piece, I remember back...

Friday, May 22, 2015

New Mexicans surrounded by hostile enemies

Fredrick Remington, Mexican Sheepherder tortured by the Apaches.

The Hispanic and Pueblo Indian New Mexicans of the Spanish (1598 - 1821) and Mexican (1821 - 1846) era's were surrounded by hostile tribes and had to fight day and night on all fronts. The Navajo on the north and west, the Ute on the north and east, the Comanche and Pawnee on the east and the various subdivisions of Apache to the south.

In all reality the siege by hostile Indians lasted well past the American occupation and annexation of the province into the late 1870's. But the Spanish and Mexican era's were particularly difficult as the area had a small population and even smaller financial resources.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census lists 61,547 persons. This was 4 years after the American conquest, occupation and annexation of the New Mexican province. By this time there were at least 5,000 - 6,000 Americans in New Mexico. there were probably 10,000 Pueblo's as the "savage tribes" mentioned were not part of the census. That leaves about 45,000 or so New Mexican Hispanos or Mexicans as our ancestors were known then.

The 1784 El Paso Spanish Census* lists 4,091 total "Hispanos" in the district. men were 1,220, women were 1223 boys were 820 and girls were 828. so the men comprised about 29% of the population.

We need to keep in mind that El Paso was part of New Mexico at the time and would remain so through the Mexican Period. The population in other New Mexican districts would most probably breakdown similarly by percentage.

So if the Hispanic/Mexican population was about 45,000 in 1850 we can estimate the "fighting" population in 1846 was about 29% of the 45,000 or a little over 15,000 men. If we subtract a figure to represent the men too old to be effective in war we probably end up with 11,000 to 12,000 men  capable of "bearing arms". The Pueblos were also involved in the defense of the province. 

These 11,000 - 12,000 men plus whatever number of the Pueblos assisted had to defend all of the area where they lived and their flocks and herds of animals where ever they grazed. Mostly up and down the Rio Grande but there were other places where Hispanos/Mexicans resided. When you consider or ponder the numbers of "hostiles" or "savages" that is quite a feat. A feat that the "Americanos" would have had trouble with.

As for hostile or savage Indians? Well, we do know that it is estimated that in the 1860's during the removal of this tribe to Bosque Redondo there were 12,000 to 15,000 hostile Navajos. The numbers of Apaches, Comanches, Utas, Pawnees and other Indios del Norte is not known. Neither are the numbers of hostiles that resided in the area south of El Paso.

Either way, New Mexicans and their Pueblo allies did a great job of the defense of the province. These defenders are our real heroes,  our "founders". To these defenders we owe our gratitude. The threat then was close, real and terrible. 

*Refer to the October 1977 New Mexico Historical Review article titled The Population of the El Paso Area - A Census of 1784 written by W.H. Timmons.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Como se dice? Unos cuantos dichos favoritos de me joventud.

My mother used to use this one, "Se hase el pendejo para comer con las dos manos." for someone playing dumb.

My grandmother when we as kids asked her "que es" she would respond "una punta para los preguntones." We were asking too many questions.

En la tierra de el siego, el tuerto es rey.

When asked como esta(s), "como un perrito millionario". Doing just fine.

Waiting for some undeserved something, "Esperando el bien de dios envuelto en una tortilla."

My grandmother used to say about ghosts that "No le tengo miedo a los muertos, solamente a los vivos."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pobre Nuevo Mejico, Tan Lejos del Cielo y Tan Cerca de Tejas.

"Pobre Nuevo Mejico, Tan Lejos del Cielo y Tan Cerca de Tejas."

Poor New Mexico, so far from heaven and so close to Texas. Manuel Armijo, the Last New Mexican Governor prior to the American occupation hit the nail on the head when he uttered this pearl of wisdom.

In New Mexico today Texans escape from the heat and the dreariness of the Llano Estacado and come to the mountains of New Mexico by the tens of thousands every weekend. If you travel between Raton and Clayton over 90 % of the traffic is from Texas. The same goes on the road between Roswell and Tularosa. A good portion of the Texans also head into the mountains of Southern Colorado. Any place really, any place other than Texas.

The towns of Eagle Nest, Angel Fire and Red River in Northern New Mexico and also Ruidoso and Cloudcroft in Southern New Mexico are populated by about 95% Texans. Texans catering to other Texans. Sort of odd to spend time in these towns, islands of Texans in New Mexico. And the extreme eastern part of New Mexico is called little Texas as in some cases there are more Texans there than New Mexicans or folks from anywhere else.

New Mexicans have had a distrust of Texans since the Americans settled there (Texas) swore allegiance to the Mexican Republic then turned on Mexico, declared their own republic and tried to invade New Mexico from there several times after their "independence". Sort of hard to trust them after the scheme that they pulled off with the support of the Americans.

We have been going into the Texas Panhandle, especially Amarillo since we used to travel I-40 when coming home from points north and east. I Like Amarillo, easy to get around in and lots of antique shops on old Route 66. I also like to travel the panhandle as this is the part of the llano our New Mexican ancestors used for several hundred years before modern Texas came into being. Sort of gives a person perspective of what life used to be like in New Mexico.